Kamakhya Devi is in Kamakhya Temple in Assam is one of the most venerated Shakti shrines in India, and is regarded as one of the Shakti Peethams associated with the legend of Shiva and Daksha Yagna.
Kamakhya is located on a hill - Neelachala Parvat or Kamagiri near the city of Guwahati in Assam. Shakti, residing on the Kamagiri hill is known as Kamakhya, the granter of desires.
Assam traditionally has been known as the Kamarupa Desa and has been associated with Tantric practices and Shakti worship. This temple was destroyed in early 16th century, and then rebuilt in the 17th century by King Nara Narayana, of Cooch Bihar.
Kalika Purana, an ancient work in Sanskrit describes Kamakhya as the yielder of all desires, the young bride of Shiva, and the giver of salvation.
This legend is associated with the destruction of Daksha's sacrifice and the origin of the Shakti Peethas of India.
Sati, the consort of Shiva was the daughter of Daksha Prajaapati a descendant of Bhrama.. Sati had married Shiva against the wishes of her father. The vain Daksha performed a great yagna (with the sole aim of insulting Shiva), to which he invited all of the gods and goddesses except his son in law Shiva. Against Shiva's wishes, Sati attended this sacrifice and was insulted by her father. Unable to bear this insult, Sati immolated herself.
Enraged at the insult and the injury, Shiva through Veerabhadra, destroyed Daksha's sacrifice, cut off Daksha's head and replaced it with that of a goat, as he restored him to life. Still crazed with grief, he picked up the remains of Sati's body, and danced the dance of destruction throughout the Universe. The other gods intervened to stop this dance, and the disk of Vishnu cut through the corpse of Sati, whose various parts of the body fell at several spots all through the Indian subcontinent and formed the sites of what are known as Shakti Peethas today.
The place where the reproductive organ of Sati, (the Yoni) is said to have fallen here.
Legend also has it that the supreme creative power of Bhrahma was challenged by Shakti, the mother Goddess, and that Bhrahma could thereafter create, only with the blessings of the Yoni, as the sole creative principle. After much penance, Bhrahma brought down a luminous body of light from space and placed it within the Yoni circle, which was created by the Goddess and placed at Kamarupa.
Significance of Kamakhya Temple:
Within a corner of a cave in the temple, there is a sculptored image of the Yoni of the Goddess, which is the object of reverence. A natural spring keeps the stone moist. There are images of Ganesha, Chamundeswari, dancing fitures etc. There is no image of Shakti here.
Other temples on the Neelachala hill include those of Tara, Bhairavi, Bhuvaneswari and Ghantakarna.
Every year during the month of Ashaad (June), the Brahmaputra river near Kamakhya turns red. It is believed that the goddess ‘menstruates’ during this period.
Durga Puja is celebrated annually during Navaratri in the month of September- October. It is a three day festival attracting devotees from across the world.
A unique festival observed here is the Ambuvaci (Ameti) fertility festival wherein it is believed that the Goddess (mother Earth) undergoes her menstrual period. During this period the temple is closed for three days and opened with great festivity on the fourth day. It is believed to be inauspicious to till the ground or to plant seeds, during this three day period.
18 Shakti Peetha Stotram:
लङ्कायां शाङ्करीदेवी कामाक्षी काञ्चिकापुरे ।
प्रद्युम्ने शृङ्खलादेवी चामुण्डी क्रौञ्चपट्टणे ॥ 1 ॥
Lankayam Shankari devi, Kamakshi Kanchika pure
Pradyumne Shrinkhala devi, Chamunda Krouncha pattane || 1 ||
अलम्पुरे जोगुलाम्बा श्रीशैले भ्रमराम्बिका ।
कोल्हापुरे महालक्ष्मी मुहुर्ये एकवीरा ॥ 2 ॥
Alampure Jogulamba, Sri shaile Bhramarambika
Kolha pure Maha lakshmi, Mahurye Ekaveerika || 2 ||
उज्जयिन्यां महाकाली पीठिकायां पुरुहूतिका ।
ओढ्यायां गिरिजादेवी माणिक्या दक्षवाटिके ॥ 3 ॥
Ujjainyam Maha kali, Peethikayam Puruhutika
Odhyane Girija devi, Manikya Daksha vatike || 3 ||
हरिक्षेत्रे कामरूपी प्रयागे माधवेश्वरी ।
ज्वालायां वैष्णवीदेवी गया माङ्गल्यगौरिका ॥ 4 ॥
Hari kshetre Kama rupi, Prayage Madhaveshwari
Jwalayam Vishnavi devi, Gaya Mangalya gourika || 4 ||
वारणाश्यां विशालाक्षी काश्मीरेतु सरस्वती ।
अष्टादश सुपीठानि योगिनामपि दुर्लभम् ॥ 5 ॥
Varanasyam Vishalakshi, Kashmire tu Saraswati
Ashtadasha Shakti peethani, Yoginamapi durlabham || 5 ||
सायङ्काले पठेन्नित्यं सर्वशत्रुविनाशनम् ।
सर्वरोगहरं दिव्यं सर्वसम्पत्करं शुभम् ॥ 6 ॥
Sayamkale pathennityam, Sarva shatri vinashanam
Sarva roga haram divyam, Sarva sampatkaram shubham || 6 ||
Part of the
|Place||Name of Shakti|
|1||Heart||Trimkomali (Srilanka)||Sankari Devi|
|2||Back part||Kanchi (Tamilnadu)||Kamakshi Devi|
|3||Stomach part||Praddyumnam (Gujarat)||Sri Shrunkala Devi|
|4||Hair||Mysore (Karnataka)||Chamundeswari Devi|
|5||Upper teeth rows||Alampur (Andhra Pradesh)||Jogulamba Devi|
|6||Neck part||Srisailam (Andhra Pradesh)||Bhramramba Devi|
|7||Eyes||Kolhapur (Maharastra)||Mahalakshmi Devi|
|8||Left hand||Nanded (Maharastra)||Ekavirika Devi|
|9||Tongue||Ujjain (Madya pradesh)||Mahakali Devi|
|10||Back||Pithapuram (Andhra Pradesh)||Puruhutika Devi|
|11||Navel||Cuttack (Orissa)||Girija Devi|
|12||Left cheek||Draksharamam (A.P)||Manikyamba devi|
|13||Reproductive organ - Yoni||Gauhathi (Assam)||Kamarupa Devi|
|14||Fingers (hand)||Prayaga (Uttar Pradesh)||Madhaveswari Devi|
|15||Head part||Jwala (Himaclapradesh)||Vaishnavi Devi|
|16||Breast part||Gaya (Bihar)||Sarvamangala Devi|
|17||Wrist||Varanasi (Uttar Pradesh)||Visalaksi Devi|
|18||Right Hand||Kashmir||Saraswathi Devi|